November 2021 books read

  • Agent Running in the Field – John Le CarrĂ©, 2019. Second Monday book group selection, and very enjoyable – especially once the plot really picked up – but not enough quotes for a whole post. Just these two:
    • “Dom doesn’t do confrontation… His life is a sideways advance between things he can’t face.”
    • “In Moscow he was older than his years. Now youth has caught up with him in a big way.”
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carreyrou, 2018. I loved the podcast The Drop Out (although now I see they have a whole new season on the trial! must listen!) so much of this was familiar to me, but the details are equally compelling. What a crazy, crazy story. I am fascinated by human delusions, especially people who believe they can will their desires into reality, but the Theranos saga also makes me marvel that complicated devices that work are actually designed and built by similar humans.
  • Walden – Henry David Thoreau, 1854. I enjoyed this much more as a Great Books selection than as a Nature and Environment title when we read it in 2015 – at least I think it’s the change of lens and not just the six year gap. Quotes pulled, TBD.
  • Wife Apparent – Dornford Yates, 1956. I really thought I had read every single Yates, but this was unfamiliar (I mean, same old Yates tropes of deserving former officer gets amnesia, love interest has gray eyes and small feet, etc., but the actual story was unfamiliar). Extra doses of weird with the protagonist talking to a literal elm tree on the daily – not just talking to, unburdening his heart. Apparently Yates himself did the same thing with a picture clock, so it’s quasi-autobiographical.
  • A Radiant Life: The Selected Journalism – Nuala O’Faolain, 2010 – quotes pulled, TBD
  • This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920. This was the title I should have read for Great Books last month! Quotes pulled, TBD.
  • Finders Keepers – Stephen King, 2015. Another very readable King outing that inexplicably elevates a fictional author by describing or inserting writing that is so much worse than its frame. In this case it’s a Salinger stand-in, Jimmy Gold (his last published story is entitled “The Perfect Banana Pie” – I mean, come on…). Also, what is his deal with Jerome Robinson, a Harvard student whose alter-ego is “Tyrone Feelgood Delight”? One of the most tone-deaf and insulting characterizations I’ve ever read. But the plot, which revolves around Gold’s long-buried notebooks, is compelling.
  • Out of the Silent Planet (1938) and Perelandra (1943) – C. S. Lewis. I don’t remember what, if anything, prompted me to pick these up for the umpteenth time, but I love them, especially their vivid and imaginative descriptions of “Mars” and “Venus,” respectively.

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